Structure Your New Life: Five Ways to Perfect Your Transition to Paradise
One of the most stressful events in anyone’s life is moving, even if the move involves giving up your workaday life and relocating to live the life of your dreams in a beachfront home in sunny La Paz. The vision you had of yourself and your spouse sipping frosty margaritas while surrounded by a group of charming new friends probably did not happen in your first weeks. Instead, you were likely feeling overwhelmed by the hard work you did in order to set up your phone and electricity, and hire a good gardener, maid, and pool service.
For most expats, life eventually smoothes out, they make friends, and they relax and start living on Mexican time, but if you want to get to “eventually,” a little bit sooner, here are five things you can do to make your transition more pleasant.
- Learn some Spanish. Enroll in a class at one of the Spanish schools in La Paz. Not only will you improve your knowledge of the local culture, you’ll also meet people much like yourself. (Se Habla La Paz Spanish immersion school (tel: 612 122 7763, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: sehablalapaz.com) and El Nopal (tel: 612 188 0577, web: www.elnopalspanish.com)
- Go Local: Take to the streets and use what you’ve learned, even if it means carrying a dictionary (there is an app for that) wherever you go. Whether you’re in the bank, the grocery store, or your favorite café, greet people with a smile and a friendly “Buenas dias.” Look people in the eye, learn their names, and tell them yours. Shop in local stores, or just spend a Sunday evening strolling along the Malecon. Paceanos are a friendly bunch and will respond in kind.
- Volunteer: There are all kinds of groups that have mixed Mexican and foreign members. Volunteer to serve breakfast to kids from the barrios with FANLAP (tel: 612 121 2166, web: www.lapazninos.org). Walk or foster a shelter dog .
- Start a Group: You came down here to have the time to pursue your interests, and many others did, as well. Tell people you want to start an organic garden, a tango club, or a gourmet club. Form a film club and trade reviews of the latest movies. People bond more easily over shared interests, and soon, you’ll be surrounded by friends. Sign up on the La Paz Gringos forum: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lapazgringos/
- Celebrate! Holidays and rituals are an important part of every culture, and taking part in local traditions is crucial to becoming part of a community. Head to the Governor’s Mansion on the evening September 15th to hear El Grito (the scream) – the annual recreation of the call for independence. Visit the Teatro de la Ciudad on November 1st and experience an authentic Day of the Dead festival. Love a parade? You can see one every day during the annual pre-Lenten festival Carnival (shoes optional, shirts required.)
These are just a few of the ways you can ease your transition from turista to ciudana (citizen). Wondering why this is on a real estate page? It’s simple: when you buy a new home, you’re not just purchasing a structure, you’re structuring a new lifestyle.